Govs Back Judicial Autonomy, Says Fayemi

Dr Kayode Fayemi

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said all the 36 states governors on the platform of the NGF are in support of the judicial autonomy sought by Nigerians.

Fayemi said he had led delegation on behalf of the forum to meet with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, and the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-mensem, to reach a common front on the modality for the implementation across the states of the federation.

Fayemi stated this yesterday while playing host to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President-elect, Mr. Olumide Akpata, in his office in Ado Ekiti.

The governor said judicial reform remains the engine room of any democracy, stating that necessary reforms must be undertaken in the judiciary to promote the rule of law.

According to him, “One thing that is a priority to us in the NGF is the judicial autonomy. All governors in Nigeria are in support of judicial autonomy, but the contention had always been the modality for implementation.

“I have met with the CJN and President of the Court of Appeal to work out the modalities for implementation to be in such a way that it will be mutually beneficial. We consider judicial autonomy a critical component of our democratic growth, and we must ensure that it happens.

“In Ekiti State, matters of justice sector reform is so dear to our heart, and we are ready to work with the NBA to fast-track action on this for the sake of our judiciary.”

Fayemi added that Ekiti State has been a vanguard in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), which he considered a huge crime against humanity, saying the NGF is putting machinery in motion to bring all the governors into the fray in this regard.

“All our governors should be active in this fight and that was why the governors declared a state of emergency against GBV, and with this, all governors must domesticate the GBV laws in their respective states,” he stated.

Fayemi appealed to the NBA president-elect to partner Ekiti State lawyers and give them the sense of belonging in the association, saying the state has a long history of producing good and sound lawyers who can be encouraged to become Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).

On the issue of judicial autonomy, Akpata, who had earlier promised to bring radical development to NBA through promotion of welfare packages for lawyers, said the body won’t be a spectator in the task of injecting reform into the country’s judiciary.

Akpata added that NBA is going to be a partner and not spectator, saying: “There will be constructive engagements with the governors, so that they won’t just pay lip service to the implementation. We know what judicial autonomy is, and we will ensure we get the real reform that our judiciary deserves.”

On the NBA’s election where he trounced other contenders to emerge victorious, Akpata said: “Though the two other contestants were from Ekiti State, despite this, I received tremendous support here not minding where I come from, and that is the Nigeria of our dream we are all hoping to have.”